Metroid (NES) review
"Although I have played many worse games, none have filled me with as much anger as Metroid. The idea of fighting in an alien world while finding hidden items and secrets is a great one that has influenced countless classics, but Metroid is certainly not one of them. Its world sucks you in and keeps you playing, no matter how bad it might get. You just cannot put it down, making it one of the most torturous gaming experiences available. "
Although I have played many worse games, none have filled me with as much anger as Metroid. The idea of fighting in an alien world while finding hidden items and secrets is a great one that has influenced countless classics, but Metroid is certainly not one of them. Its world sucks you in and keeps you playing, no matter how bad it might get. You just cannot put it down, making it one of the most torturous gaming experiences available.
Metroid is a lousy game right off the bat. Within minutes of playing I already noticed a plethora of flaws with the mechanics. There were several instances where I was attacked while stuck in a doorway that is impossible to avoid. Another huge annoyance is not being able to aim diagonally. Now this feature is not always necessary in games, but when there are many narrow corridors barely higher than your characterís head that are filled with enemies that tend to meander around your feet there is a problem. Being able to kill them surely beats plowing through the room and praying for a miracle.
There is still plenty to do and see so I donít let these problems get to me. To make a long story short I decide to move on, hoping the game will pick up so I can overlook these flaws.
It gets worse.
After progressing through the second area another problem arises: I am lost. Metroid is the perfect example of cut-and-paste level design. In each area there are at most five unique rooms that are repeated over and over again. On top of that the game doesnít come with a map. Of course creating your own map is a cool challenge, but with such crappy, repetitive level design a built-in map is mandatory to avoid frustration.
Even though Iím lost the foes are more menacing then ever and Iím beginning to acquire a few neat items, such as the ice beam. There might even be a boss battle on the horizon! I decide to press on looking forward to what Iím about to encounter.
And it gets worse.
After traversing through room after room of repetition, Iím finally up to a boss. Too bad it isnít as fun as it looks. In the matter of fact it is nearly impossible to beat until I discover a spot below the floor where he canít hit me and I can pelt him all day with my missiles. Now after defeating it I am generously rewarded Ė with seventy five missiles! After all of that tedious exploring through copy-and-paste rooms for five missiles at a time my total amount more than doubles. That is such an insult to me; all of the exploring that the game encourages is meaningless in the end.
Now Iím in a darker environment with even more challenges than ever before. Despite frustrating mechanics, lousy level design, a lame boss and a reward that destroys the point of the game this is looking too cool to pass up.
Once again, it gets worse.
This new areaís design is just as repetitive as ever before. The enemies might be tougher, but rather than creating a fun challenge the poor mechanics mentioned earlier make the game more annoying and frustrating than ever before. Itís also around now that the gameís fatal flaw begins to show.
Similar to most people in my situation, at this point in the game Iíve either died or stopped playing quite a few times. Whenever you die/restart you begin at the same point with 30 grams (or whatever you want to call it) of health. This isnít bad at first, but after acquiring several energy tanks this becomes a HUGE problem. Consider this: I estimated that the average enemy drops health around 30% of the time, and the vast majority of the time they only give 5 grams of health. Later on in the game you will have up to eight energy tanks to fill with 100 grams of health in each of them. Thatís a total of 899 grams of health for the math illiterate (or non-losers, just trying to make myself feel smart here). Filling up all of those tanks is an incredibly long and tedious process that can take over a half hour. So unless you want to enter a tough area with only 30 grams of health you must fight lame enemies for up to half an hour beforehand. This is what ultimately makes the game unplayable after a while. Youíre not supposed to spend more time finding health than playing the actual game.
The one positive comment I can make about Metroid is aside from the health issue it is for the most part playable and influenced some of the greatest games to ever be released. The main problem I have with it is the fake illusion that it provides. Of course Iíve played many worse games, but at least I know those games are going to suck and I can stop playing them immediately. In Metroidís case you always have the feeling that it will pick up and something spectacular will happen, but instead new flaws are introduced and the old ones keep on stockpiling. Take those flaws and the never ending hunts for health and youíre left with a game that I have no compassion for whatsoever.
Play Super Metroid instead.
Community review by Halon (May 03, 2008)
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